Ohio OKs medical provisions of oil and gas legislation
Some groups continue to question the medical provisions of oil and gas legislation, even as the bill was signed into law Monday.
One of the more serious issues is what happens when someone comes into the hospital in an emergency situation. Will the doctor have access to the fracking chemicals quickly enough, wonders Susie Beiersdorfer, geologist at Youngstown State University and activist with Frack Free Mahoning Valley.
“We would like to see a forum and dialogue with medical experts to go over the provisions of SB 315,” she said.
The medical portions of the law were put into place after the public comment period so people did not have the ability to come to Columbus and testify about them, Beiersdorfer said.
Another concern is the health of first responders, particularly in rural areas, who might have to go to drilling sites, she said.
Is there going to be any way for those people to know what types of chemicals are there that could impact their health, Beiersdorfer asked.
The Ohio law states the medical professional shall not disclose the information received for any purpose that is not medical.
The state’s law is very similar to one passed in Pennsylvania and a act used in Colorado.
The Ohio State Medical Association was initially unhappy with the bill’s provisions relating to medical treatment, said Tim Maglione, OSMA’s senior director of government relations.
When the bill was first introduced its language could have been read to limit what doctors could tell their patients about chemicals they might have been exposed to, he said.
“We wrote an amendment and it got into the final bill,” Maglione said. “Those additions alleviated our concerns.”
The bill as it now reads ensures that doctors can have conversations with patients and in addition can report anything strange that could impact other people to the Ohio Department of Health, he said.